With one league game left to play, the Lady Sauras soccer team secured at least a tie for the Northwest 1A Conference championship on Friday with an 8-0 shutout over Mount Airy in Walnut Cove.
“I thought we came out a little flat and weren’t executing like we have been,” said Saura coach Danny Bowman. “Once we scored, the team started getting into the flow of the game. I’m proud of their accomplishments tonight.”
The contest started as a defensive battle until the home team scored their first goal off of a corner-kick by freshman Rhiannon Dunlap with 14:56 left before the half. Dunlap added her second goal seven minutes later on an assist from another freshman, Savannah Nelson. The Sauras took advantage of another corner-kick on Nelson’s first of two goals with a header at short blank range for the 3-0 halftime lead.
“I told them at the half that I wasn’t even sure what team was here,” Bowman said. “We needed to pick our energy up, spread the field, and find the open player. I thought we did a lot better in the second half with our play.”
South wasted little time and scored in the first three minutes on Dunlap’s third goal off of a rebound shot from Madison Green. Green added her first goal of the game when she was fouled inside the box giving her a penalty shot from 15 feet away.
The Sauras stayed ahead midway through the second period with a breakaway shot from Nelson for the 6-0 edge. The maroon and gold tallied two more in the last 12 minutes on Green’s second goal on an assist from Nelson and Hannah King’s open net shot from a goal kick that was blocked from Mount Airy for the final margin.
Dunlap led the Sauras, the state’s fifth ranked 1A team according to NCHSAA.org, with three goals. Green added two goals, Nelson two goals and two assists, while Hannah King tallied one goal and Evan O’Leary had three assists. Goalie Summer Coates recorded three saves and the Sauras outshot the Bears 34-3.
South improved to 11-4 overall and 7-0 in conference play. Mount Airy drops to 9-7 and 2-3. The Sauras will travel to Bishop McGuinness (8-5, 5-1) on May 1 and try and win their third outright conference championship in the school’s 54 year history.
“This team has grown and gelled together since the beginning of the year,” Bowman added. “We still have goals to accomplish and a lot more work to do.”
Robert Money can be reached at 336-749-1193.